Paper On Alzheimer's Disease

955 words - 4 pages

This paper is about Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible decline in memory, language skills, perception of time and space, and, eventually, the ability to care for oneself (Kalat). These symptoms are affected because this disease involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language (Kalat). German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer first described Alzheimer's disease in 1906, Alzheimer's disease was initially thought to be a rare condition affecting only young people, and was referred to as "presenile" dementia the Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet. Today, late-onset Alzheimer's disease is recognized as the most common cause of the loss of mental function in those aged 65 and over. Alzheimer's in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, called early-onset Alzheimer's disease, occurs much less frequently. The causes of Alzheimer's disease remain a mystery, but researchers have found that particular groups of people have risk factors that make them more likely to develop the disease than the general population. Diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is not that certain either, the only way to be sure that a person has Alzheimer's disease is to look at their brain tissue once the person is dead (Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet). There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease and treatment focuses on lessening symptoms and attempting to slow the course of the disease (Brink). Alzheimer's disease is a very frustrating and cruel disease with no cure, those who have it suffer, and those who don't wish they could help.The onset of Alzheimer's disease is generally very gradual. In the early stages, Alzheimer's patients have relatively mild problems learning new information and remembering to perform routine mechanical tasks, such as locking the front door or turning off the radio. In time, they begin to have trouble recollecting recent events and finding the right words to express themselves (Kalat). As an example of having trouble to recollect recent events, Kalat talks about how, "Daniel Schacter reported playing golf with an Alzheimer's patient who remembered the rules and jargon of the game correctly but could not remember how many strokes he took on any hole. Five times he teed off, waited for the other player to tee off, and then tee off again". As the disease progresses, patients may have difficulty remembering what day or month it is, or finding their way around familiar surroundings (Cooney). They may develop a tendency to wander off and then be unable to find their way back. Patients often become irritable or withdrawn as they struggle with fear and frustration when once commonplace tasks become unfamiliar and intimidating. Behavioral changes may become more pronounced as patients become paranoid or delusional and unable to engage in normal conversation (Christensen). Eventually, Alzheimer's patients become completely incapacitated and unable to take care of their most basic life functions,...

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